January 14, 2009

The frustration with Burgundies

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After the Cos d'Estournel tasting tonight, I got together with a couple of friends and had dinner next door at the Press Room. We brought along a couple of bottles of red Burgundy to enjoy with the simple food. 

My friend brought along a bottle of 2004 Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin. Madame Bize declassified all her wines in 2004 due to the passing of her husband, so all the harvest from Grand Cru vineyards went into the village wines. These were available for sale at prices which made them more affordable, so some of us snapped up a bunch of these. Given that the Gevrey-Chambertin is actually a blend of Chambertin, Latricières-Chambertin, Combottes and some village grapes, you can imagine our level of excitement. 

Well, we knew something was weird when the wine was decanted. The unfiltered wine looked very cloudy, but the color was really, really light. It looked like strawberry/raspberry juice, or a bottle of 30+ year old Burgundy from a weak vintage. The nose was very open and beautiful with lots of leather, grilled meats, bacon fat and even some orange/tangerine. So far so good. But the first sip of the wine made me wince - the acidity was just too much. There was nothing on the palate other than volatile acidity, and I thought I was drinking something made from lemonade. Aeration in a decanter for more than an hour did not improve the palate in any way. It's a wine that would have rated in the low 90s judging by its nose, only to have 10-15 points deducted as a result of the palate.

I brought along the 2000 Dugat-Py Charmes-Chambertin. I was also a little disappointed in this wine, because the nose never really showed well. Yes, it's a weak vintage; and yes, it's a Charmes-Chambertin so not an opulent wine. There was some sweet fruit and a bit of grilled meats in the nose. There was a lot more concentration on the palate and even a little tannic, with a reasonably long finish. But I wanted more. After all, this wasn't exactly a cheap bottle of wine! I wish I had taken a picture of the two glasses of wine, showing the totally different shades of (pun fully intended) burgundy. Judging by the colors, one would never have guessed that the wines were made from the same grape varietal grown in the same village, with only a 4-year difference in vintage.

I had nibbled on some finger food during the Cos tasting, so I dispensed with a starter for dinner. Instead I went straight to the roast pork belly with pomme purée. This is the same dish I had a couple of months ago during another wine dinner at Classified, and surprisingly I actually took in some of the potato mash as well as the apple chunks. Not bad. We shared a crêpe flambée a la mode for dessert. Nicely done with blueberries.

Well, anyone who drinks enough Burgundies know that there can be spectacular successes...and crash and burn badly. Guess this just wasn't our night...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On another HK forum, I asked you for recommendations on some affordable Red Burgundies for the same reason!

Its ultra difficult to locate one that's even remotely within a likeable range, they all vary so much despite the emphasis on the so called Terroir and vintages - plus, with a limited salary pay for me, it makes it more the difficult selecting a good pinot as a quaffer. Must admit I have never tried a Grand Cru Burgundy before, only tried some 1er Cru from more well known producers like Meo Camuzet and Armand Rousseau rather than gambling it on a cheaper Grand Cru by someone or some negociants I don't know much about. *_*'

I'm still yet to try some of the more budget oriented ones in the Altaya wine list that you taught me to look at first as a starting point. Actively sourcing them now for CNY!


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